Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lame Duck Congress: Help American Families Today, Don’t Let Unemployment Benefits Expire

by Linda A. Meric

There was good news for our flailing economy from the Bureau of Labor Statistics this month. More than 150,000 jobs were added in the United States in October and private sector payrolls grew by 159,000.

But there was some news that didn’t change: unemployment held steady at 9.6 percent. Almost 15 million Americans are out of work and more than 41 percent of them have been unemployed for six months or more. So, adding 150,000 jobs, while a good sign, is still just a drop in the economic bucket.

With job growth still sluggish, and with so many people out of work, it’s critical that unemployment benefits not be allowed to expire. President Obama has even expressed his support for this important step, saying “I think it makes sense for us to extend unemployment insurance because there are still a lot of folks out there hurting.”

But the President obviously can’t do it alone. This is a job for the lame duck Congress, returning to the hill this week – and partisan politics should not get in the way.

Emergency unemployment benefits are set to expire at the end of this month. If no extension is approved, two million American workers will lose their unemployment benefits – and more importantly lose their lifeline to economic security for themselves and their families – just in time for the holidays.

“The current expiration date will cause a cascade of unemployed workers to fall off the unemployment rolls, prematurely cutting benefits for some and making any form of an extension completely unavailable for others,” according to the National Employment Law Project (NELP). Plus, as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted, there are still far more unemployed workers than there are job openings.

This is worth noting, too: An extension of benefits does not mean that workers who have completely exhausted their benefits will get even one penny more. It only means that those who are currently receiving UI benefits will not get cut off mid stream.

It means that working women – who face staggering unemployment at the same time that women are now the primary or co-breadwinner in more than 2/3 of American families – will be able to provide for their families; to make ends meet. Really, every dollar provided in UI benefits for struggling families pumps two dollars back into our economy because they have so many needs. These aren’t dollars that get stored up somewhere for savings. These are dollars that are needed and spent right now; for food, for clothing, for rent, for utilities – to keep the lights on and the furnace going.

The lame duck Congress can’t leave American families out in the cold this holiday season.

It doesn’t have much time. It must extend emergency unemployment insurance benefits and do so quickly.

America’s families are waiting.

Meric is Executive Director of 9to5, National Association of Working Women

Monday, November 29, 2010

What the lame-duck Congress needs to take on

Now that it has dropped the ball on the Paycheck Fairness Act, failing to end wage discrimination, this lame-duck Congress has another chance. It must extend benefits for unemployed workers. No Congress has ever left workers hanging in midstream, unable to keep their families going, keep food on the table, roof overhead and the lights and furnace on at home. Certainly this Congress would not be so cruel as to do so in this terribly tough economy and just as the holidays are approaching.

It also has a chance to do something else that will have a major impact. Passing the DREAM Act will allow more people to achieve economic security for their families with a pathway to citizenship through a college education or military service.

Check out our website and see what else we are doing. Click here

Margaret Gomez, Denver

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Safety Net for Unemployed Coloradans Due to Expire

About 15,000 Coloradans are at risk of losing their unemployment benefits during the holiday season, unless Congress takes action by the end of the month. Late last week, Congress failed to pass a measure which would continue extended unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed.

However, voters favor continuing that support by two to one, according to Guy Molyneux at Hart Research Associates, who just finished a poll.

"Sixty percent of American voters said yes they favor continuing the benefits. Just 37 percent of voters nationally said they opposed continuing those benefits. "

Republicans in Congress have said they don't want to increase the deficit to continue help for the unemployed. But Molyneux says strong support among voters continued even when reminded of the federal deficit. Congress has never ended these benefits when the unemployment rate is above seven percent. It will take up the issue again on November 29th -- the day before the benefits are set to expire.

Continuing the support would not add weeks of unemployment insurance, just pay for the additional weeks now available. Those additional weeks can be a lifeline for the long-term unemployed.

Robert Pugh is 59. He has worked steadily since he was 16, mostly as a chef but more recently as a financial analyst. That job was eliminated this year, and he says he has about four weeks of benefits left.

"I'm barely surviving. I can pay my rent, buy enough food to eat, pay my insurance, put gas in my car. If I run out of benefits, I'm going to have to move out of my house, and basically I'm going to be homeless."

An estimated 2 million people nationally will be cut off in December unless Congress extends federal support.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, unemployment benefits are the single most efficient form of economic stimulus. One estimate says 700,000 additional jobs exist because of federal support for the unemployed.

More information is available on the National Employment Law Project website, www.nelp.org.

Friday, November 19, 2010

9to5 Small Business Owner Survey

Are you a small business owner?
Do you know somebody that is?

9to5 is currently conducting valuable research among small business owners in the Denver metro area. The purpose of this research is to gauge the impacts of health care reform on small businesses, and consists of a short survey and future focus groups around the implementation of health care reform in the workplace.

Participation in this survey will help guide the future work of 9to5 Colorado with the small business community in the Denver metro area. By filling out the survey you can help influence the organizing model and support frameworks that will promote increased collaboration and relationship building among small businesses. All responses will be kept completely confidential.

To take the survey online at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9to5smallbizsurvey. It takes less than 10 minutes!

Your input it very important to us. If you have any questions, please, do not hesitate to contact Maggie Gomez at Maggie@9to5.org or at the 9to5 Colorado office at 303-628-0925.
Thank you in advance for your time and participation.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tell Your Story: Help End Poverty

Over more than 40 million Americans are forced to survive below the official poverty line, which is approximately $22,000 for a family of four, and nearly 15.5 million children are poor in this country. Disparity of wealth has reached record highs and growing portions of the nation’s wealth are concentrated in the possession of a small fraction of households, while nearly a third of Americans are trying to get by on incomes less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line—or about $44,000 for a family of four.

Even before the current economic crisis, 6 million low-income households were paying more than half their income on rent and utilities, or lived in severely poor housing. According from recent data from a study in 2008, almost 50 million people, including nearly one in four children, lived in a household struggling against hunger. With the economic insecurity, there is an increase in unemployment, higher prices for gas and food, and foreclosures on homes.

Despite these depressing numbers, the Half in Ten Campaign believes that it is possible to reduce poverty and ensure Americans a better brighter future. We can achieve a goal of cutting poverty in half if we deepen and expand the public will to move forward, and if we channel that will toward proven policy solutions. To be able to do this, we must update the public’s perception of poverty and change the course of federal, state, and local governing by encouraging policies that create good jobs, strengthen families, and ensure economic security. Some of the poverty policy solutions that the Half in Ten campaign supports include: expanding the earned income tax credit and child tax credit, guaranteeing child care assistance to low-income families and promoting early education for all, and ensuring equity for low-wage workers in the unemployment insurance system.

How you can get involved and do your part in reducing poverty with this campaign? Tell us your personal story about struggling to make ends meet. Tell us how unemployment insurance or tax credits have helped you provide food, shelter, or other needed expenses for your family. Tell us how without training programs or education opportunities you may have not succeeded into the person you are today. With these stories we can show the public how important it is keeping these reforms around to not only help reduce poverty, but to help the individuals who have to face poverty.

Tu Mai is a student at the University of Colorado Denver and an organizing/public relations intern with 9to5 Colorado

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Congress is back in session and precious few days remain for them to pass these critical bills.Taking action has never been more important than it is right now. The Senate must make these bills a priority. Take Action Today!! Click on the links below to be redirected to our website and send your elected official an email, a fax, a phone call or a letter and urge them to take priority in these bills.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Call-In Day Tomorrow: Continue UI Benefits & End Tax Cuts For Millionaires

On Tuesday, Nov. 16, Tell Congress:

• America needs our help. 3.2 million people are about to lose benefits.

• Tell Congress: Don’t cut benefits for the unemployed to pay for MORE tax cuts for millionaires!

Go to
www.usaction.org/call or call 1-866-606-1189 and we’ll patch you through so that YOU can tell Congress:

What’s At Stake

income inequality 15 million unemployed tax cuts for the rich cuts to Social Security wasteful Pentagon
spending 44 million living in poverty loopholes for corporate CEOs

income inequality 15 million unemployed tax cuts for the rich cuts to Social Security wasteful Pentagon spending 44 million living in poverty loopholes for corporate CEOs

income inequality 15 million unemployed tax cuts for the rich cuts to Social Security wasteful Pentagon spending 44 million living in poverty loopholes for corporate CEOs

income inequality 15 million unemployed tax cuts for the rich cuts to Social Security wasteful Pentagon spending 44 million living in poverty loopholes for corporate CEOs

Friday, November 12, 2010

For our daughters’ sakes, pass the Paycheck Fairness Act

The much heralded and hotly contested mid-term elections are done. The ballot questions have been decided and the candidates are either grateful because they pulled out a win or gloomy because they didn’t. Either way, it’s time to move on.

It’s time now to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Women have been waiting for a very long time. Frankly, we’ve grown impatient. The moment is here. The U.S. Senate must pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, for the women of today, and for the women of tomorrow.

Since the Equal Pay Act was signed in 1963, the wage gap has been closing at a snail’s pace. In 1963, women who worked in full-time, year-round, jobs made 59 cents on average for every dollar earned by men. In 2009, women earned 77 cents to men’s dollar. The wage gap has narrowed by less than half a cent per year. For women of color, the gap is even wider, with African American women and Latinas earning only 61 cents and 52 cents, respectively, on the dollar.

The pay gap is evident in almost every occupational category, in every income bracket; it’s a constant despite education, despite experience. Although enforcement of the Equal Pay Act and other civil rights laws has helped narrow the gap, it’s critical that the significant disparities in pay that remain be addressed. The Paycheck Fairness Act will be an important step to help end those disparities. It must be passed, for the women of today, and for the women of tomorrow.

Consider LaTerrell. She lives in Denver and works in the financial services industry. At one time, she worked as part of a team of three women. Then, Peter, the first male in the department, was hired. He was hired for the exact same job, only Peter didn’t have the same qualifications or the same experience. He didn’t have the same salary either. He was to be paid more. A supervisor discovered it, and the company decided to give all three women a raise to match Peter’s salary. Luckily, someone was paying attention and took action.

But women deal with unequal pay and inequitable salary ladders in all too many professions; something must be done to end it – for the women of today, and for the women of tomorrow. That something is passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

The Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 3772) is comprehensive legislation that updates the Equal Pay Act of 1963, strengthens penalties courts may impose for violations of existing equal pay laws, prohibits retaliation against workers who inquire about or share wage information, and empowers women to better negotiate for equal pay.

According to the National Women’s Law Center, the pay gap is about much more than fairness, it’s about women’s and families’ bottom-lines; the gap represents $10,622 a year. With that, you could buy a year’s worth of groceries ($3,210), arrange for three months of child care ($1,748), pay three months of rent and utilities ($2,265) six months of health insurance ($1,697), cover six months on a student loan ($1,602) — and buy three full tanks of gas ($100)!

Our U.S. Senate must consider how the pay gap places families of today in jeopardy; at risk, especially in these tough economic times.

But if that doesn’t do it, maybe they should consider something else.

They should think about their own daughters, their granddaughters, great-granddaughters. They should think about how they prize them, how they love them, how they treasure them, how they would fight for them. Are they really worth less?

The answer should then be obvious: Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act now, without amendments, in this session. For the good of all women – women of today and of tomorrow – and for the good of our country, it’s the right thing to do.

Linda Meric is executive director of 9to5, National Association of Working Women

Thursday, November 11, 2010

CPL Political Leaders Fellowship

The Center for Progressive Leadership is accepting applications for its 2011 Political Leaders Fellowship. The Political Leaders Fellowship (PLF) a 9 month part-time leadership development program for promising future elected officials, organizational leaders, community organizers, and activists. Through training, coaching, and mentoring, the program gives political leaders the skills they need to advance positive progressive change. We highlight core leadership lessons such as the power of storytelling, vision and values, messaging, fundraising, campaign planning and collaborative leadership. For more information, click here.


There are two ways you can help:

1) Step up and declare yourself a progressive leader by completing an application and/or

2) Take the time to nominate someone and let them know that you recognize their leadership potential.

The deadline for submitting an application is December 1st. If you have any questions or would like to speak with a CO-CPL staff member, please call (303) 861-1883 or email Emily at emily@progressiveleaders.org.

Apply Now for the Colorado Women's Appointment Project: We Need You!

The Colorado Women’s Appointment Project is here. And we need your help!

“Ultimately, we find that women, regardless of their age, partisan affiliation, income, and profession, are significantly less likely than men to express interest in seeking public office. We link this persistent gender gap in political ambition to two factors. First, we find that women are significantly less likely than men to view themselves as qualified to run for office. In addition, women are less likely than men to receive encouragement to run for office from party leaders, elected officials, and political activists. Together, these findings shed light on reasons for women’s continued under-representation in politics.” Why Don’t Women Run for Office? Issued by the Taubman Center for Public Policy Brown University

This message is meant to ENCOURAGE YOU to apply for various positions (some paid, some volunteer) in the new Governor’s office. You are qualified and you are officially invited!

What is The National Women’s Appointment Project?

Nearly 100 years after the right to vote was finally acknowledged, women are 52 percent of our populations but only 17 percent of Congress. We’re still waiting for our first female president, vice president, or Senate majority leader. It’s not just that a healthy democracy needs to be truly representative. Solving the complex problems of the 21st century America requires political leadership, experience, and wisdom that draw on all of our resources – not just 50 percent of them.

Based on Ambassador Swanee Hunt and Massachusetts Lt. Governor Kerry Healy’s shared vision of political parity across the United States, the Women’s Appointment Project was created. The goal is simple: start a movement to create political parity at the state level, where women hold an average of 31 percent of the cabinet and high level position in administrations nationwide. Women already run major universities and Fortune 500 companies and serve as generals. We know there are many qualified women for these positions – so let’s introduce them to the governors.

What is the Colorado Women’s State Appointment Project?

Inspired by the National project, it’s with pleasure that we introduce the Colorado Women’s State Appointment Project 2010 to you. The mission of this nonpartisanproject is to encourage and recruit women statewide to apply for an appointment on boards, commissions, or in agencies within the new gubernatorial administration that was elected this November. The Latina Initiative is the lead on this project. They have engaged The Women’s Foundation of Colorado, The White House Project, The Center for Work, Education and Employment, Mi Casa Resource Center for Women, The Colorado Women’s Bar Association, 9to5 National Association of Working Women, The Latina Chamber and the Women’s College of DU, The Colorado Civic Engagement Roundtable, The Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center and Colorado Women in Government. These groups, along with several legislators and energized individuals, comprise the Steering Committee of organizations leading this effort to ensure we have a rich, diverse pool of women from all corners of the state included.

What are we asking of our strong, female constituents?

We want you to apply for a high-level Governor Appointment or one of the many boards and commissions throughout our state. That’s what we want! The Foundation has strong ties to amazing women throughout the state. Women who are eager to give back to their communities and get involved. Women with vast experience who can make an impact on state rules and regulations. You are a natural fit for this work! Review the list of amazing appointments through the website below, fill-out the brief form, upload your resume and get involved! The CWAP will then review all submissions and take those most qualified to the new Governor (in November and early December) and urge him to appoint you to his various open positions. Essentially, The CWAP will serve as your advocate.

Send Us Your Applications and Help Fill These Important Governor Appointments in 2011:

Please help us by encouraging women in your networks to fill out the application located on our website http://coloradowap.org/cwapptp/home so they may also be included in this project (applications are being accepted now). On this site, we have included information to answer any questions about the process and offer inspiration on the rewards for serving to potential appointees from women who are currently serving on and have served on boards and commissions around the state.

We look forward to working with you to increase the number of women in appointed office in Colorado. Please contact Juanita Chacon, Interim President of The Latina Initiative, at Juanita@latinainitiative.org for more information.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

All number initiatives defeated by a landslide!!!!

This fall, we educated and mobilized hundreds of thousands of Coloradans to vote. Working in collaboration with 8 other organizations as Engage Colorado, 9to5 helped lead unprecedented efforts to implement massive coordinated electoral efforts throughout the state. Engage Colorado made over 850,000 attempted canvass, phone, and mail contacts in Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder and El Paso counties. We were encouraging voters to oppose all 6 detrimental statewide initiatives, and on November 2nd we defeated all 6 initiatives!
  • Amendment 60 (75% voted NO) would have cut money for schools by 50%, cut thousands of teaching jobs, increased class sizes and cut after-school programs
  • Amendment 61 (73% voted NO) would have wiped out construction jobs and halted work on vital community projects like water treatment plants and school construction
  • Amendment 62 (70.5% voted NO) would have severely limited a woman's ability to make choices about her own reproductive health
  • Amendment 63 (53% voted NO) would have dramatically increased health care costs
  • Proposition 101 (68% voted NO) would have eliminated funding for schools and safe communities
  • Proposition 102 (62% voted NO) would have compromised public safety, costing our communities millions of dollars – while increasing the income of bail bondsmen.
9to5 Colorado also led our own canvass program in Lakewood, making over 11,000 door-to-door, phone and mail contacts with voters on all 6 statewide ballot initiatives and also on the extremely harmful local Ballot Question 300 - the Vehicle Impound Initiative which would have unfairly punished people driving without their drivers license on them. We worked to defeat this measure in Denver in 2009 and our great canvassing team was once again successful in Lakewood this year: Ballot Question 300 was defeated with 63% voting NO!

To support the grassroots successes of 9to5 Colorado, www.9to5.org to make a $25 donation.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day!!!!!!

This year there is too much at stake not to vote.

This isnt about political parties.Were in this for our future. This election is about creating jobs, about rebuilding our middle class, and about building a strong future for our children.

TODAY is election day!! Are you ready to cast your vote? Have you made a plan for how and when you are going to vote? If you are still looking for a polling place, please check out 9to5's website to find your poling place at www.9to5.org